Our Services

Total Joint Replacement at Gunnison Valley Health

Gunnison Valley Health provides comprehensive and minimally invasive total joint replacement. Our Total Joint Center offers shoulder, hip, and knee replacements with cutting edge plastics, ceramics as well as titanium and improved metal on metal technology. In addition, we are the only total joint replacement program on the Western Slope to utilize CT and MRI imaging to form a more customized joint. That customization helps better align the new joint to your body's natural geometry.


After a joint replacement at our Total Joint Center, painful and debilitating joint injuries can be a thing of the past. Our skilled multidisciplinary team of surgeons, nurses, rehabilitation experts, and others will help you on the road to a new lifestyle of increased activity and mobility.

Gunnison Valley Health is in the top 1% of outcomes for joint replacement in the county and in our skilled hands you can be home within a day of your procedure. In addition, our infection control measures have resulted in one of the lowest infection rates in the state.


Preparing for your Joint Replacement:

Upon scheduling your joint replacement you will receive a Total Joint booklet with resources you will need in the days and weeks leading up to your procedure as well as information to aid in your recovery; including dietary considerations and helpful stretches and exercises. You will also be scheduled for a preoperative Total Joint education class.

Please be sure to read through the appropriate Total Joint Booklet for the procedure you will be receiving:

You can also find materials for the preoperative Total Joint education class here.

Preoperative Total Joint education classes take place on the fourth Wednesday of every month in the Gunnison Valley Health hospital conference room.

  • March 22, 2017
  • April 26, 2017
  • May 24, 2017
  • June 28, 2017
  • July 26, 2017
  • August 23, 2017
  • September 27, 2017
  • October 25, 2017
  • November 22, 2017
  • December 27, 2017

Meet Dr. Blake Clifton, M.D.

Dr. Blake Clifton is an orthopaedic surgeon fellowship trained (extra year of specialty training) in adult and pediatric sports medicine with advanced training and specialization in joint replacement of the shoulder, hip, and knee. This includes total joint replacement of the joint surface or minimally invasive partial replacement and resurfacing of the joint. Many joint replacements are done with a system custom made for each patient. Dr. Clifton uses MRI and CT scans along with computer guided technology to customize each patients surgical plan and instruments before entering the operating room. This creates a unique precise fit of the joint replacement for each individual patient.

Dr. Clifton earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from Brigham Young University. While studying Exercise Science at BYU, he did research associated with USA Track and Field (USATF) team athletes. His work included analyzing techniques and providing Dart Fish training resources to discus, shot put, and steeple chase athletes across the country. He was also awarded the Congressional Honor Award while a student at BYU.

After his freshman year at BYU, he took 2 years off to serve an LDS mission in Japan. He became fluent in Japanese and occasionally has the opportunity to use it today.

Dr. Clifton attended medical school at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. While there, he had the privilege of working with many Orthopaedic Surgeons including world renown Dr. Robert Johnson studying ski injuries on the slopes of Sugarbush Mountain Resort.

Orthopaedic surgery residency took him and his family to Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. On occasion he worked with the Texas Tech Red Raider Football program and provided medical coverage on the sidelines. He then went on to do an Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of New Mexico where he worked as one of the team physicians for the UNM Lobo athletes across all sports. Here he was trained in complex open and arthroscopic procedures of all major joints of the body in both adult and pediatric athletes. He has also had extensive training in joint replacement surgery of the shoulder, knee and hip.

Dr. Clifton and his wife, Camille, have 5 children and enjoy the outdoors. They can be found in the surrounding mountains on any given weekend hiking, mountain biking, skiing or doing any number of other activities in the outdoors. If it is raining, there is a good chance you’ll find Dr. Clifton working in his wood shop where he enjoys building fine cabinetry and handmade rocking horses.


Meet Dr. David Elfenbein, M.D.

Dr. Elfenbein is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in sports medicine with extensive experience in joint replacement surgery. He received a bachelor of arts degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania where he majored in biology. Afterward, he attended the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where he was a distinguished member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society, and was awarded his doctor of medicine degree in 1995. He completed his general surgical internship at New York University Medical Center in 1996, and remained at The New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases for an orthopedic surgery residency from 1996-2000. He is published in hand surgery and total joint replacement, and is certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons. Dr. Elfenbein joined Connecticut Family Orthopedics in 2000, and after practicing in the northeast, he decided to make his way to the rocky mountain west.

Dr. Elfenbein is married with four children and now lives in Crested Butte, he is excited to become a part of the Gunnison valley community. He is an avid skier and sailor and enjoys running and weightlifting to keep in shape. A woodworker in his spare time, Dr. Elfenbein can often be found in his shop working on or planning his next project.


Meet Dr. Rhett Griggs, M.D.

Dr. Griggs was born and raised in Jackson, Wyoming. Similar to the Gunnison Valley 30 years ago, he grew up skiing, biking, pack tripping, hunting and playing team sports. He competed in multiple Junior Olympics with ski racing, was a member of a State champion football team, multiple little league all-star baseball teams and loved to spend time with his family in the backcountry.

He attended Colorado State University for two years where he started to compete in cycling. He then transferred to Loma Linda University to complete his degree in Occupational Therapy and to ride year ’round. His clinicals for OT were completed in Hawaii where he was able to bike race and learn to surf. He then moved to New Orleans to complete a hand therapy fellowship for six months. After completion, he went to Denver to live and work enough to race his road and mountain bike for two years. He then moved back to Jackson to start Teton Hand Therapy with his mother; they worked together for two years prior to medical school. Working closely with hand and sports surgeons in Denver and Jackson sparked his interest in orthopedics and he decided to return to school. He completed his M.D. at Saba University School of Medicine. He then did his internship with Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. His orthopedic residency was completed with Maricopa in Phoenix, AZ for his 2nd and 3rd years where he gained extensive exposure to trauma and sports medicine. He completed his 4th and 5th years of residency at the University of Florida in Gainesville where again he had significant exposure to sports medicine and orthopedic trauma. He still had a love for hand, elbow and shoulder and decided to do a fellowship in this with his mentor Dr. Paul Dell in Gainesville. During fellowship, he was able to hone his skills and knowledge in microvascular surgery, reconstruction, hand, elbow and shoulder arthroscopy and arthroplasty as well as continue covering trauma cases with his trauma attending and friend Richard Vlasak, M.D.

Once the fellowship concluded, Dr. Griggs interviewed all over the country, however came to the conclusion that he wanted to raise his children in a place similar to Jackson. He moved to Crested Butte in July 2008 and has worked diligently to provide patients with superior care since then. He is excited to be a part of this community and the lifestyle it provides. He continues to be an orthopedic trauma consultant with Smith and Nephew, consults with Pearl Izumi cycling company, speaks regularly on the topic of hand surgery, is a team physician for USA cycling and Stan’s No tubes women’s elite team, Western State college and the GO sports teams. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.


Gunnison Valley Health Surgical Services
711 North Taylor Street | Gunnison, CO 81230 | 970-641-7223